Universal Telephony Application Client That Is Configurable From A Profile For A Telphone Call Campaign - Patent 5761285

Document Sample
Universal Telephony Application Client That Is Configurable From A Profile For A Telphone Call Campaign - Patent 5761285 Powered By Docstoc
					


United States Patent: 5761285


































 
( 1 of 1 )



	United States Patent 
	5,761,285



 Stent
 

 
June 2, 1998




 Universal telephony application client that is configurable from a
     profile for a telphone call campaign



Abstract

A universal telephony application client (TAC) that can be dynamically
     configured for a specific telephone call campaign running on a telephony
     platform system where upon the beginning of a call campaign, the universal
     TAC is initialized from an initialization profile specific to a telephone
     call campaign. The universal TAC operates as individual TAC threads to
     control processing of call records or incoming calls according to the
     parameters provided in the initialization profile. The initialization
     profile is modifiable before a call campaign, at the commencement of a
     call campaign, or at any time during a call campaign. All campaign TACs
     created subsequent to modifying the initialization profile will be
     modified to include the new parameters.


 
Inventors: 
 Stent; Robert J. (Westford, MA) 
 Assignee:


Davox Corporation
(MA)





Appl. No.:
                    
 08/252,338
  
Filed:
                      
  June 1, 1994





  
Current U.S. Class:
  379/266.07  ; 379/114.01; 379/114.19; 379/266.1; 379/309
  
Current International Class: 
  H04M 3/50&nbsp(20060101); H04M 3/51&nbsp(20060101); H04M 015/00&nbsp()
  
Field of Search: 
  
  






 379/112,113,133,265,266,308,309
  

References Cited  [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents
 
 
 
4475013
October 1984
Lee et al.

5127045
June 1992
Cragum

5179589
January 1993
Syu

5214688
May 1993
Szlam et al.

5247569
September 1993
Cave

5299195
March 1994
Thorne et al.

5299260
March 1994
Shaio

5327490
July 1994
Cave

5371787
December 1994
Hamilton

5381470
January 1995
Cambray et al.



 Foreign Patent Documents
 
 
 
9208309
May., 1992
WO



   Primary Examiner:  Chin; Stephen


  Assistant Examiner:  Kim; Kevin


  Attorney, Agent or Firm: Bourque; Daniel J.
Carroll; Kevin J.



Parent Case Text



RELATED APPLICATION


This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No.
     08/252,921, filed on Jun. 1, 1994, Attorney Docket No. DAVOX-119XX,
     entitled A Method for Allocating Agents with Predetermined Attributes To A
     Telephone Call Campaign, assigned to the assignee of the present invention
     and fully incorporated herein by reference.

Claims  

What is claimed is:

1.  A system for controlling how telephony system resources are to respond during processing of a telephone call record associated with at least first and second telephone call
campaigns, said system comprising:


at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles, each of said at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles including a plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values, each of said
plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values specifying a call campaign parameter used to process telephone call records associated with said at least first and second telephone call campaigns respectively;


at least one telephone call campaign manager, for initiating said at least first and second telephone call campaigns;


at least one inbound/outbound campaign manager server, responsive to said at least one telephone call campaign manager, for controlling the initiation of a plurality of telephony application client processes, each telephony application client
process, for controlling telephony system resource handling of one telephone call record;  and


a telephony application client process initiator, responsive to said at least one inbound/outbound campaign manager server and to said at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles, for initiating at least a first telephony
application client process utilizing said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values of said first call campaign initialization profile, and for initiating at least a second telephony application client process utilizing said
plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values of said second call campaign initialization profile.


2.  The method of claim 1, wherein said telephony system resources includes telephone trunks and agents.


3.  The method of claim 1, wherein said at least a first telephone call campaigns includes an outgoing call campaign.


4.  The method of claim 1, wherein said at least a first telephone call campaigns includes an incoming call campaign.


5.  The method of claim 1, wherein said telephony application client process is implemented using UNIX based processes.


6.  The method of claim 5, wherein said telephony application client processes are implemented using UNIX based lightweight processes.


7.  The method of claim 1, wherein said telephony application client process is implemented using UNIX based universal state table processes.


8.  The method of claim 1, wherein said dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values include a number representing how many minutes to wait before redialing a busy telephone number.


9.  The method of claim 1, wherein said dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values include a number representing how many rings to allow before considering a telephone call to be a no-answer.


10.  The method of claim 1, wherein said dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values include a number representing how many times a busy telephone number should be redialed.


11.  The method of claim 1, wherein said dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values include enabling detecting that a telephone call has been answered by a telephone answering machine.


12.  The method of claim 11, wherein said dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values include a predefined action to take upon detection that a telephone call has been answered by a telephone answering machine.


13.  The method of claim 1, wherein said dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values include an action to take when a telephone call receiver hangs up while on hold.


14.  The system of claim 1, further including a telephony application client process master, responsive to each telephony application client process, for controlling at least one server in said telephony system.


15.  The system of claim 1, further including at least a first call campaign configuration data base including said at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles.


16.  The system of claim 15, wherein said first telephony application client process initiated by said telephony application client process initiator is initialized by reading said first call campaign initialization profile in said call campaign
configuration data base.


17.  The system of claim 15, wherein said second telephony application client process initiated by said telephony application client process initiator is initialized by reading said second call campaign initialization profile in said call
campaign configuration data base.


18.  The system of claim 1, wherein said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values included in said at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles are dynamically modifiable by said at least one
telephone call campaign manager after commencing said processing of telephone call records associated with said at least first and second telephone call campaigns respectively.


19.  The system of claim 18, wherein a third telephony application client process initiated by said telephony application client process initiator is initialized with dynamically modified first call campaign specific parameter values by reading
said first call campaign initialization profile modified after commencing said processing of telephone call records associated with said at least first telephone call campaign.


20.  The system of claim 18, wherein a fourth telephony application client process initiated by said telephony application client process initiator is initialized with dynamically modified second call campaign specific parameter values by reading
said second call campaign initialization profile modified after commencing said processing of telephone call records associated with said at least second telephone call campaign.


21.  A system for controlling how telephony system resources are to respond during processing of a telephone call record associated with at least one telephone call campaign, said system comprising:


at least a first call campaign initialization profile including a plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values, each of said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values specifying a call
campaign parameter used to process telephone call records associated with said at least one telephone call campaign;


at least one telephone call campaign manager, for initiating said at least one telephone call campaign;


at least one inbound/outbound campaign manager server, responsive to said at least one telephone call campaign manager, for controlling the initiation of a plurality of telephony application client processes, each telephony application client
process, for controlling telephony system resource handling of one telephone call record associated with said at least one telephone call campaign;  and


a telephony application client process initiator, responsive to said at least one inbound/outbound campaign manager server and to said at least a first call campaign initialization profile, for initiating at least a first telephony application
client process utilizing said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values of said first call campaign initialization profile.


22.  A method of dynamically modifying control of how telephony system resources process a telephone call record associated with at least first and second telephone call campaigns, said method comprising the steps of:


providing at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles, each of said at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles including a plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values, each of
said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values specifying a call campaign parameter used to process telephone call records associated with said at least first and second telephone call campaigns respectively;


initiating said at least first and second telephone call campaigns;  and


controlling the initiation of a plurality of telephony application client processes in response to said initiating of said at least first and second telephone call campaigns, wherein each telephony application client process controls telephony
system resource handling of one telephone call record, said step of controlling the initiation of a plurality of telephony application client processes including the steps of:


initiating at least a first telephony application client process utilizing said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values of said first call campaign initialization profile;  and


initiating at least a second telephony application client process utilizing said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values of said second call campaign initialization profile.


23.  The method of claim 22, further including the step of providing at least one call campaign configuration data base, for storing said at least first and second call campaign initialization profiles.


24.  The method of claim 22, wherein said step of initiating at least first telephony application client process includes initializing said at least first telephony application client process by reading said first call campaign initialization
profile in said call campaign configuration data base.


25.  The method of claim 22, wherein said step of initiating at least second telephony application client process includes initializing said at least second telephony application client process by reading said second call campaign initialization
profile in said call campaign configuration data base.


26.  The method of claim 22, further including the step of dynamically modifying said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values included in said at least first call campaign initialization profile after commencing
said processing of telephone call records associated with said at least first telephone call campaign.


27.  The method of claim 22, further including the step of dynamically modifying said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values included in said at least second call campaign initialization profile after commencing
said processing of telephone call records associated with said at least second telephone call campaign.


28.  The method of claim 26, further including after the step of dynamically modifying said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values included in said at least first call campaign initialization profile the step of
initiating a third telephony application client process by reading said first call campaign initialization profile modified after commencing said processing of telephone call records associated with said at least first telephone call campaign.


29.  The method of claim 27, further including after the step of dynamically modifying said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values included in said at least second call campaign initialization profile the step of
initiating a fourth telephony application client process by reading said second call campaign initialization profile modified after commencing said processing of telephone call records associated with said at least second telephone call campaign.


30.  A method of dynamically modifying control of how telephony system resources process a telephone call record associated with at least one telephone call campaign, said method comprising the steps of:


providing at least a first call campaign initialization profile including a plurality of user selectable dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values, each of said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter
values specifying a call campaign parameter used to process telephone call records associated with said at least one telephone call campaign;


initiating said at least one telephone call campaign;


controlling the initiation of a plurality of telephony application client processes, each telephony application client process controlling telephony system resource handling of one telephone call record;  and


initiating at least a first telephony application client process utilizing said plurality of dynamically modifiable campaign specific parameter values of said at least a first call campaign initialization profile in response to said controlling
of the initiation of a plurality of telephony application client processes.  Description  

RELATED APPLICATION


This application is related to co-pending U.S.  patent application Ser.  No. 08/252,921, filed on Jun.  1, 1994, Attorney Docket No. DAVOX-119XX, entitled A Method for Allocating Agents with Predetermined Attributes To A Telephone Call Campaign,
assigned to the assignee of the present invention and fully incorporated herein by reference.


FIELD OF THE INVENTION


This invention relates to telephony management systems, and more particularly, to a universal telephony application client that is dynamically configurable from a profile for a given telephone call campaign.


BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


As is known in the art, many businesses use telephony system including automated call distribution systems and predictive dialers to process incoming calls and outgoing call records.  Telephone system resources such as telephone lines and agents
must be managed in real time to process call records for outgoing calls, and to process incoming calls.  Such telephone system resource management has been performed by individual agents or agent supervisors.  However, in telephony systems, such
resources are handled automatically by the telephony system to allocate the resources and handle events to allow calls to be processed.


As is also known, one method of managing such resources is by creating a process on the telephony call distribution platform to handle a single outgoing call record or incoming call.  The process or thread only handles a single call record.  The
process obtains system resources such as trunk lines and agents, and follows the processing of the call record or incoming call until completion.  The process terminates when the telephone call or processing of the telephone call is complete.  Many
processes or threads can run at the same time, each handling a single call record or incoming call.


There are many parameters which are required to process outgoing or incoming calls for each specific call campaign or series of planned telephone calls.  Call campaigns all have different requirements, and specifically designed processes are
needed to handle the different requirements unique to each call campaign.  Also, the processing of incoming calls and events is different from outgoing call campaigns and requires processes that are capable of handling the different requirements. 
Therefore, specific incoming and outgoing call processes must be individually created for each call campaign and designed to meet the specific requirements of that call campaign.  Such prior art processes are often hard coded or programmed, which
requires a considerable amount of time to program and compile to create the campaign specific process.  Most importantly, such processes cannot be modified in real-time, to conform to the requirements of a call campaign then being executed.


Accordingly, what is needed is a universal telephony application process which is general enough for most call campaigns, but can be specifically and dynamically modified for the requirements of each individual call campaign.


SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


In accordance with the present invention, a method for creating a universal telephony application client (TAC) or process that can be utilized as is or configured for a specific call campaign is provided.  Upon beginning a campaign, the universal
TAC is initialized from a campaign configuration database specific to a call campaign.  The universal TAC then processes the call records according to the parameters provided in the campaign configuration profile.


The campaign configuration is modifiable before a call campaign, or at the commencement of a call campaign, or at any time during a call campaign.  All TACs created subsequent to modifying the campaign configuration profile will include the new
parameters.


A universal TAC may be started by one of the campaign managers to process a call record for an outbound dialing application or to process an incoming call, or it may be started by a system wide event server in order to perform some programmed
response to the occurrence of an event.  Universal TACs may also be started by other entities to accomplish a variety of other chores such as for controlling the operation of other system servers . 

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description, taken together with the drawings wherein:


FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a telephony system capable of mixing inbound call processing with outbound dialing automation and for providing the telephony application client of the present invention;


FIG. 2 is a more detailed block diagram of the Telephony Application Client according to the present invention; and


FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating the method for creating and initializing a universal TAC according to the present invention. 

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT


The universal telephony application client (TAC) or process in accordance with the present invention is utilized by a telephony platform system as described by co-pending U.S.  patent application, Attorney Docket No. DAVOX-119XX, assigned to the
assignee of the present invention, and incorporated herein by reference.  The universal telephony application client or process is utilized to control the handling of call records (outgoing calls), incoming calls and other events that occur in the
system.


Referring now to FIG. 1, a telephony platform system 10 is provided.  A telephone resource server 70 interfaces with digital communication server 14 which handles telephone lines coming from central office 18, and also interfaces with a plurality
of agent workstations 16a-16n.  Telephone resource server 70 comprises many subsystem, including outbound campaign manager 62, inbound campaign manager 64, trunk resource manager 66, agent resource manager 74, and system server 71.  Telephony application
client (TACs) 72 are utilized by the telephony system 10 to control utilization of system resources to process call records and incoming calls.


A user initiates a specific call campaign to process either incoming or outgoing calls.  Each campaign has a profile or configuration database which sets up parameters to direct how the campaign shall proceed.  One of the parameters is whether a
specifically designed TAC may be used, or can a universal TAC be used.  Upon commencing a campaign, the user may modify certain parameters, some of which may modify the TACs created for that campaign.  These parameters will be stored in the TAC
initialization profile as a database, step 210, FIG. 3.  As shown in FIG. 2, the user 100, interfacing through a campaign manager application as a graphical user interface 46 running supervisor station 24 modifies database 52 to create a campaign
specific configuration database or profile 102.  This profile contains campaign specific information as shown in Table 1 below.  Additionally, the campaign manager application 46 is also responsible for generating and maintaining a campaign resource
database 104 which includes a unique record identifier number which allows the TAC 72 to retrieve a given record under control of the inbound or outbound campaign manager 62, 64.


The campaign resource database 104 is independent of record layout or format and thus, can interface with many types of record formats or databases available from a host computer.  This database contains a mapping table which tells the TAC where
a given record is, such as the customer telephone number to be dialed.  Thus, the mapping table indicates the location of a record in a host computer regardless of the format of that record.


When user 100, through campaign manager 46 directs inbound or outbound campaign manager 62/64 to begin a campaign, inbound or outbound campaign manager 62/64 directs the TAC Daemon 106 to start a universal TAC 108.  The universal TAC initializes
itself by reading the campaign configuration database 102 containing information on how the campaign calls are to be handled, such as shown in table 1 and subsequently awaits any record identifiers of records to be processed.


As a call campaign commences to run, step 212, the outbound campaign manager requests TACs to be created to process call records, or if it is an inbound campaign, the inbound campaign manager requests TACs to be created to handle incoming calls,
step 216.  A TAC is started with a single input parameter.  This parameter may be a record ID, an event ID, or some other unique ID with which the TAC may query a campaign resource database 104 to obtain further information about the call to be placed or
the incoming call to handle.


A TAC thread 110a, 110n is created for each record to be processed.  A TAC thread is one execution of the TAC for a given call record.  Multiple TAC threads 110a, 110n will generally be executing simultaneously.  Each TAC thread controls or
performs the operation as directed by the inbound/outbound campaign manager such as dialing, etc.


At step 218, the universal TAC commences to operate as a process or thread on the telephone system platform to handle the requested event.  One processor or thread is operative for each event (call) to be handled.  In the preferred embodiment,
the universal TAC is implemented as a Unix lightweight process which is well known in the art, and which minimizes system memory and process scheduling requirements.  At step 220, the created universal TAC accesses the initialization profile based on the
ID parameter, for customizing parameters.  For example, such parameters could specify how many rings to allow before a call is considered a no-answer, how long to wait before redialing a busy number, and how many times to retry dialing a busy number.  In
the preferred embodiment, there are many possible parameters as shown in Table


 TABLE 1  ______________________________________ Busy Recall Delay  The number of minutes the dialer  will wait to redial a busy number.  Rings For No Answer  The number of rings the dialer will  allow before considering the call a  no-answer. 
Number Of Busy Recalls  The number of times the dialer will  redial a busy number.  Answering Machine Detect  Can be enabled for the home and/or  "other" phone number, but not for  the business number.  Business Cutoff  Can be enabled to stop calling the business number after the specified  time.  Call Options Specifies the numbers which will be  dialed and in what sequence.  Directory Assistance  Tells what to do if the agent enters  the term code requesting directory  assistance. The options are to end the call (i.e. not call directory  assistance), call directory  assistance on the next pass when the  record is sent to the agent.  Drop Gives options for handling a call  which the dialer drops because no  agent becomes available.  Hangup Gives the
options for handling a  call which the customer hangs up on  while on hold.  High And Dry Determines the response to a call  for which no progress is detected  (no ringing, busy tone, etc.).  Home Cutoff Can be enabled to stop calling the  home number
after the specified  time.  Hang Up (during) Broadcast  Determines what to do when a  customer hangs up during a non-hold  message.  Location Refers to the time zone location of  the dialer.  Play Action Determines after which messages the  "back hold"
message will be played.  The back hold messages tells the  customer to hold, an agent will be  back on line shortly.  Play Messages Determines which non-hold messages  will be played.  Redial Business  Specifies what to do with a call  when an agent
enters that result  code.  Redial Business Manual  Specifies what to do with a call  when an agent enters that result  code.  Redial Home Manual  Specifies what to do with a call  when an agent enters that result  code.  Redial Home Specifies what to do
with a call  when an agent enters that result  code.  Redial Other Specifies what to do with a call  when an agent enters that result  code.  Redial Other Manual  Specifies what to do with a call  when an agent enters that result  code.  Recall Queuing
Can be enabled or disabled. When  disabled, busies still go into the  recall queue.  Sit Tone Specifies what to do with a call  that triggers a sit tone.  ______________________________________


Any of these parameters may also be modified while a campaign is running.  If a parameter is modified, the new value is stored in the initialization profile, step 214.


At step 222, the customized universal TAC handles the call or event, including requesting resources from resource managers, such as trunk lines for calling from the trunk resource manager, and agents from the agent resource manger.  Each TAC
thread interfaces with the TAC master 112 to control operation of one or more system servers 114a-114n such as the trunk resource manager server 66, workstation application server 76, agent resource manager server 74 and telephony application server 78. 
As can be clearly seen from FIG. 2, each TAC thread such as TAC thread 110a may control multiple servers 114a-114n.  The servers 114a-114n service the call record as directed by the TAC thread requesting service.  The universal TAC process can also start
user selected specific TACs to handle specific situations unique to a call campaign.  The universal TAC will suspend while the specific TAC is running, and when the specific TAC terminates, the universal TAC continues processing.  A TAC thread will
handle a call record or call to completion, performing redials and wrap-up of completed calls as needed.  Once the TAC completes its processing, the TAC thread notifies the process which started it and then terminates, step 224.


Such universal TACs are usable by many campaigns thus avoiding the problem of many different specific TACs required for each individual campaign.


Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention which is not to be limited except by the claims which follow.


* * * * *























				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: RELATED APPLICATIONThis application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/252,921, filed on Jun. 1, 1994, Attorney Docket No. DAVOX-119XX, entitled A Method for Allocating Agents with Predetermined Attributes To A Telephone Call Campaign,assigned to the assignee of the present invention and fully incorporated herein by reference.FIELD OF THE INVENTIONThis invention relates to telephony management systems, and more particularly, to a universal telephony application client that is dynamically configurable from a profile for a given telephone call campaign.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTIONAs is known in the art, many businesses use telephony system including automated call distribution systems and predictive dialers to process incoming calls and outgoing call records. Telephone system resources such as telephone lines and agentsmust be managed in real time to process call records for outgoing calls, and to process incoming calls. Such telephone system resource management has been performed by individual agents or agent supervisors. However, in telephony systems, suchresources are handled automatically by the telephony system to allocate the resources and handle events to allow calls to be processed.As is also known, one method of managing such resources is by creating a process on the telephony call distribution platform to handle a single outgoing call record or incoming call. The process or thread only handles a single call record. Theprocess obtains system resources such as trunk lines and agents, and follows the processing of the call record or incoming call until completion. The process terminates when the telephone call or processing of the telephone call is complete. Manyprocesses or threads can run at the same time, each handling a single call record or incoming call.There are many parameters which are required to process outgoing or incoming calls for each specific call campaign or series of planned telephone calls. Call campaigns a